My Facebook Account Was Disabled For Abuse. How Was I Abusive? I Am An Atheist.

Lately, the active atheist community on Facebook has found their Facebook pages being disabled for abuse when theists, offended by our point of view, report us as being abusive. Numerous atheists on Facebook have been disabled or have had warnings that they will be disabled. Many emails and messages have been exchanged between non-theists about this issue. Many, if not most atheists are reinstated. Some have even been issued apologies.

I am only the latest in a long line of atheists who have been disabled. Many, if not most are reinstated after being found non-abusive, but that doesn’t change that just a few offended theists can damage the reputation of one atheist.

Anyone who spends any time discussing religion with me knows how little I think of atheists who try to insult theists to get their point across. I think civil discussion works best. Even though I try to adhere to those principles, I have been disabled.

Enough has to be enough. We need to stand up for all atheists on Facebook. We should not allow ourselves be bullied. Write Facebook and tell them what you think of the fear atheist feel when discussion religion on Facebook. disabled@facebook.com

My letter to facebook:

Hello Facebook.

My account has been disabled. This trend of disabling atheists is getting out of hand. The entire atheist facebook community knows that if they talk too much about being an atheist, you will disable them because christians will in force call them abusive when they are not. Several atheists have asked what they should do to prevent from being disabled and yet still be free to speak their minds.

I have contacted you three times when I got abuse warnings, asking what is going on. I never recieved a reply. Now I am disabled.

I have not abused anyone. I suggest you review my posts. Review in which direction the abuse is coming from. I spend a great deal of time encouraging peaceful discussion.

I am a very well known member of the media, writer and editor. I will be writing an article about this.

Please fully reinstate my account immedately.
LaRae Meadows.

Views: 99

Tags: atheist, bully, disabled, facebook, theists

Comment by LaRae Meadows on August 22, 2009 at 4:27pm
I think FB could be used the way you do or the way I do. I don't think FB is "supposed" to be used either way. But - none of that means they should be allowed to suspend you because other people are upset that you are an atheist.
Comment by LaRae Meadows on August 22, 2009 at 4:39pm
Oh. I do take this as a compliment. I just need some support, I think all the people who have been suspended do.
Comment by LaRae Meadows on August 22, 2009 at 5:41pm
There is a "report abuse" function in facebook. I don't know if there is a "report dismissiveness." LOL. But, if atheists actually reported the abuse they suffer at the hands of theists on FB the theists might get suspended.
Comment by Rox on August 22, 2009 at 6:52pm
Maybe we should start reporting theists' abusive posts. My guess is there's a coded-in threshold of some sort where X clicks on "report" for any User's content generates warnings or disabling. If you bitch about the disabling, then an actual person may have to investigate & take action. Let's put the theists on the defensive and let them explain how their threats of Hell and support of hate, discrimination and violence aren't abuse, merely the love of Christ.

Our problem is we're not only too difficult to offend, but too enlightened to give credence to the notion that things we may find offensive ought to be censored. We don't resort to being tattle-tales when someone tries to hurt our feelings like our childish, whiny opponents. Perhaps it's time to get a little biblical on them... eye for an eye and all that...
Comment by LaRae Meadows on August 22, 2009 at 6:53pm
Rox. I have considered that myself. Unfortunately, that isn't an option for me right now. I encourage you to report the abusive theists when you come across them. And, if you have a minute, support atheists who have been banned for being atheists.
Comment by Killarny on August 22, 2009 at 7:37pm
I really don't much like the idea of being able to "report" peoples comments for abuse. I know it's good-intentioned, but I just don't think it works well with the ideas that the US First Amendment is supposed to foster. I couldn't, in good conscience, report someone as being abusive even if they used racial epithets or called for the assassination of the President. People should be allowed to say whatever the hell they like, without worrying whether it's "abusive".
Comment by LaRae Meadows on August 22, 2009 at 8:02pm
I hear you Killarny. That's a good point.
Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on August 23, 2009 at 7:04am
I think I'll email facebook about the issue of disabling atheists and perhaps give my intention to start a mass trend of reporting abuse on religious profiles.
I'm sure they'll realize how faulty their system is, and at least look into another method, especially if it means a full blown banning war could be started.
Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on August 23, 2009 at 8:52am
Facebook is gaining a reputation for deletion of members that are atheist. No doubt this is due to the system of automatic warnings and subsequent banning after a profile reaches critical mass of reported abuse. 'Abuse' by some constitutes nothing more than disagreeing with a particular belief structure. It is not the intended vulgarity, nudity and violence filters that Facebook intended to cap.
If this problem isn't rectified and continues to be used as a means of silencing opposing viewpoints, various atheist communities will initiate a coordinated effort to do likewise to the religious profiles. This would be very work intensive for those that must investigate banning, and likewise it will probably garner quite a bit of attention in the media.
We do hope you see to this problem before it becomes much larger and more difficult to reverse.
Thank you for your time,
Comment by Jim Valentine on August 25, 2009 at 11:35pm
Neal - you made the same observation I did a couple weeks ago. Very conservative people on there and more than a few are quite intolerant. I don't use the group or forums except to join them and I try to keep away from joining religious groups. When I post links or notes that offend, I try to offend broadly and not be to specific so as to be taken as a personal attack.

There are two things that I know about people that wish to debate me on whatever topic I'm ranting about: First is that while my mind is open, my own perspective is that I'm right and my mind won't change without good cause. Secondly, I assume that the person that is trying to debate me doesn't know what they're talking about anyway, so I tend to write them off - creationists, that is. When I detect that the person talking doesn't have a clue, I tend to act childishly, it's a flaw, but I've not been kicked off of Facebook yet.

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